Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Kill

We discussed the things to consider before you kill a character a while back. I never did get to how I was going to do the deed and I feel K is forcing my hand. Remember that killing this character is necessary and hits all 4 of the good reasons to kill a character. There are so many ways to off someone and so may decisions to be made.

I found a helpful list of over 400 ways to kill a character. It's even all divided up into categories to help you focus your decision making process. I never even considered half of them and this list really got my mind cranking. I don't want to say the actual way the character dies because, you know, surprise. I do want to talk about the things I need to consider. The general idea in this case is murder where the character is sacrificing herself for the cause and the main characters. I am not sure if she also kills the killer at the same time or they get away and have to be tracked down. However, murder automatically rules out a few categories:

Nature’s Revenge
Animal Attack (Unless they were using an animal, but that seems hard in this story.)
Everything Goes Wrong

I don't see seriously organized, heavily propped, broad, lasting or easily traceable methods as effective in this situation, which rules out more categories:

Methods of Execution
Unusual Methods of Execution
Poisonous animals
Poisons in chemical warfare

That leaves a couple categories for me to consider:

Weapons (So many to choose from)

Then I realized in my excitement, is that the right word, at picking a death incident I wasn't being true to the story. It's an urban fantasy and they have magic powers. Why wouldn't they use them for this endeavor? I think the murder would.

I also wanted to be sure my doomed character is fleshed out and preferably that the readers are attached to her. I want my readers to feel for the victim and the surviving characters. In my research I discovered that there was originally supposed to be a pilot flying plane in Pixar's The Incredibles. He was slated to die when the plane crashed, but Pixar realized they would have to spend too much screen time on his life and story to make his loss meaningful. I mean when the red shirted ensign dies no one is surprised or really all that upset. I know I don't want my spectacular death scene ideas to be waisted on a character that doesn't even pay off with the audience.

Now we know the who, why and how decisions have been made. I'm left with the question what exactly am I trying to try and make the readers feel? That is a hard one. I want my readers to like the character and feel sad when she dies. In this case I also want to make the readers mad at the murder while simultaneously making them worry about the 2 main characters. The character on the chopping block is powerful and very close to the main characters so I expect it would effect them similarly. I am planning to use this murder to raise the stakes and show just how much influence the bad guy has.

The victim is going to leave a hole in the story dynamics. Every character has a part to play. In the case of The Most Magical Place the timing of the death won't require that the role is filed again. In other words the characters job is done.

What tips do you have on killing characters? I'm sure I'm missing something, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Please leave a comment and don't forget to let me know where you came from so I can follow you back.

Most photos by Pixabay.
Murder girl photo credit: ; via photopin (license)


  1. oooo that is an awesome list of death! :) Killing off characters can be quite therapeutic. So far this A to Z I've used a Kraken, bells and a buttered bread sandwich as means of bumping off characters. Wow I've got a dark theme going LOL

    1. So much awesome! A buttered bread sandwich! I have to go check that out.